The restaurant industry is as competitive as ever, and this no time to rely on old ways of doing things. It’s time to think differently about uniform program management and optimize all facets of your customer facing brand initiatives. You’ve got great food to share with the world, so don’t be limited in your growth plans with uniforms that don’t attract and help retain the talent you need to conquer taste buds. When you get this piece right you improve the experience for your employees and your customers, a true win-win.
I’ve compiled a quick top 10 list of common pitfalls to consider when reviewing your uniform program.
#1 – Thinking left chest only
Of course, that is the expected place to put some branding, but it is by no means the only place. The entire garment is valuable branding real estate. This doesn’t mean you have to look like a NASCAR champion; just be ready to pull a page from the retail world and find some alternate placements for your messaging.
#2 – Staying the course
Do you remember the old studies trying to determine which wall colors led to greater productivity for office workers? The researchers found that it wasn’t the color as much as the newness that inspired renewed energy and focus. We love the new. So, retire early. Then, refresh your uniforms on a regular rhythm.
#3 – Focusing on cost
The maxim “You get what you pay for” is not a truth you can escape, without consequence. Cost will always be a component of any uniform program, but don’t sacrifice quality to get the lowest price. Instead choose the uniform program that has the best overall value.
#4 – Buying something you won’t wear
We’ve all been guilty of this one! It’s easy to approve of something you’re not going to wear yourself. Instead, involve your staff and give them the opportunity to provide feedback. You’ll be happy you did and so will they!
#5 – Singular focus on your logo
When a customer walks into your establishment, they already know where they are. You don’t need to put your (awesome) logo on the cap, shirt, and apron. That is too much of a good thing. Go beyond the logo and tell them something new.
#6 – One-Size-Fits-All approach
Your employees deserve a uniform that fits them well and they feel good wearing. No singular uniform is universally flattering on all body shapes and sizes. That is impossible to accomplish! Instead, focus on the fit of the fabric and the cut of the garment.
#7 – Ignoring front-line staff
Your employees are the embodiment of your brand, walking ambassadors for all the investment of time, money and resources you have made over the years. Give them a rock star welcome with a new hire swag bag.
#8 – Sticking with embroidery
Have you noticed that a significant portion of retail merchandise is no longer using embroidery? If you haven’t, head to the mall. Modern brands are using newer decoration techniques that provide greater detail, longevity, and flexibility. Try a new approach to your branding.
#9 – Limited selection
Uniforms don’t have to mean uniformity. Personal expression is a key value for the modern young worker. Treat your uniform selection like a concert merch table – everyone went to the same concert but they all got a different shirt.
#10 – Holding inventory
Take advantage of limited time offers (LTO), non-stock items and produce-on-demand uniform fulfillment programs to reduce your inventory. There are a lot of creative ways to keep your program fresh and interesting while saving you the hassle of having too much product.
Did we miss any? Let us know in our comments section below. If we’ve sparked your curiosity, give us a call at 503-655-1227 to discuss the status of your uniform program and how you can avoid these common pitfalls.